The Outdoor Retailer Winter Show in Salt Lake City, running from today, January 19, through Sunday, January 22, at the Salt Palace looks to be the biggest winter show ever with more vendors and exhibitors and more people--over 21,000--attending than any previous winter market and infusing over $20 million in Salt Lake's economy.
I'm attending the show as usual, hanging out at the FalconGuides booth signing some of my books like Best Climbs Moab and Best Climbs Rocky Mountain National Park as well as doing demonstration so my new Best Climbs Moab iPhone app for climbers and retailers. Tomorrow at the FalconGuides booth, iconic boulderer John Sherman will be autographing copies of the new edition of his Better Bouldering book, while John Long, another iconic climber, will sign the new edition of his The Big Juice: Epic Tales of Big Wave Surfing--not a climbing book but as Yvon Chouinard once said, "If we weren't climbers, we would all be surfers."
Literally the coolest climbing gear that I saw today at the OR show were artificial ice climbing holds made by IceHoldz, a California company that's been in business for five years. While they've been at the Summer Market, this is the first time they've had a booth at the winter show. IceHoldz are made with a plastic shell with a glacier blue backing inside. When the two layers are combined they, according to the brochure, "...actually mimic properties of real water ice." They are mounted on the walls of rock gyms, garages, and even in shops for ice climbers to practice ice axe placements. A ΒΌ-inch pick penetration is all that's required for a solid pick placement. Some of the holds are designed to take over 3,000 direct hits. They're mounted on climbing walls with a plywood backing to avoid damage to the wall. IceHoldz are also used on Retailer Demo Boards by mountain shops for prospective ice axe buyers to give the tools a swinging tryout before plopping down their bucks. For more info, go to IceHoldz for a list or retailers and climbing gyms near you that use they or place on order on the website.
I also stopped by the Adidas booth and visited with 19-year-old Sasha DiGiulian, the best new woman climber from the United States, and picked up a signed poster of her. Sasha, who hails from Alexandria, Virginia, climbed the 5.14d (9a) route Pure Imagination at the Red River Gorge (check out a video of her ascent), taking only six tries to send the route and become only the third woman to climb a route that hard. Besides cranking hard enduro climbs like Millenium (5.14a) at Maple Canyon, she also has onsighted 5.13d. The climbing website 8a.nu calls her, along with Charolotte Durif from France, "as being the greatest female onsight climbers in history." High praise indeed and well-earned. Read more about Sasha in the March 2012 issue of Rock and Ice Magazine.
Photographs above: (Top)The FalconGuides booth at the OR Winter Market. (Middle) IceHoldz in use at the demo wall. (Bottom) Sasha DiGiulian signs posters at the Adidas booth. Photographs © Stewart M. Green